Pizza is a tasty food that no one wants to live without. It is actually pretty friendly to the gluten-free diet, except for that pesky crust. How can you continue to enjoy pizza if the crust has gluten in it?
The secret is to either make it gluten free yourself or buy it ready made…
Luckily, many people have experimented with making gluten free pizza dough, and modern gluten-free eaters can benefit from their experience. It is now possible to purchase gluten free pizza shells off the shelf, too, for those days when you don’t have time or the desire to make your own.
The Gluten-Free Difference
Traditional pizza dough isn’t much more than water, flour, oil and yeast. Gluten free doughs use a gluten-free flour combined with various gums and gels to provide some of the stickiness of gluten. The other ingredients usually remain the same. While the list of ingredients for a gluten free pizza crust recipe can look daunting, they are usually fairly easy to make.
For a gluten-free pizza crust recipe, the necessary ingredients include one or more gluten-free flours, oil, yeast, water and sugar. Depending on the recipe, one or more of the following ingredients may be used to create a stickier dough:
- Guar gum
- Xanthan gum
- Milk, buttermilk or powder
Other non-traditional ingredients are often used to recreate the true “pizza” flavor of wheat crust. Some of them include brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. From a flavor perspective, most people prefer to use a mix of different flours, but there are some gluten free pizza dough recipes that only call for one type of flour.
Flour Free Ideas for Pizza Crust
Some people have moved away from the “flour, yeast and oil” model of pizza dough entirely. A gluten-free, flourless pizza “dough” made from eggs and cheese produces a chewy substitute for thin crust pizza. The end result is a kind of thick cheese soufflé, covered with traditional toppings, that blends wonderfully with the cheesy nature of pizza.
Save the Thin Crust for Last
Gluten-free doughs don’t hold together as well as traditional ones. Although this can be overcome to a certain extent, it is usually best to leave super-thin crust pizza-making to experienced chefs. Enjoy a deep-dish or a regular crust option while you are learning, then tackle the thinner options.
Pre-made Crusts Available for Purchase
Cooking pizza dough, gluten free or otherwise, is not always something that one has time for. In these cases, there are commercially-produced gluten-free pizza dough options available. They are most likely to be found at your local health food store, but some supermarkets are getting into the trend and starting to stock them.
Pizza dough mixes are available from Arrowhead Mills, Namaste Foods, Bob’s Red Mill and more. These contain most of the necessary ingredients but require you to do some assembly and cooking. Bob’s Red Mill makes a popular mix that won the “2012 Best of Gluten-Free Awards” in the category.
Ready-made pizza crusts include those by Chebe, Udi’s, Rustic Crust, and more. Like their gluten-containing counterparts, these crusts are ready to embellish with sauce, cheese and toppings and slide into the oven. Udi’s pizza crust won the 2012 Best of Gluten-Free Awards in its category.
image courtesy ginnerobot